More Thoughts

June 20, 2014

1. In my last post, I talked about confirmations. Well, there’s another one I want to share, but I’m not doing it to make myself look or to puff myself up. Rather, it’s to share a confirmation that God did for me.

Most of you know that my brother Eric signed up for the REACH program last year, and went to Nepal. My other brother Tyler was in college and graduated this May, while Eric came from Nepal also in May. At the time, I was feeling quite insecure about myself, wondering where I fit in. (I can’t even fit into a pair of skinny jeans, let alone my place in life. Sigh).  Most of my girl cousins are married, and I’m still waiting for Prince Charming.

Well, this year at church, we decided to do Awana for our kid’s program instead of Faith Weavers. Now Faith Weavers is a good program, but we’d beein doing it for so many years, and so we decided to try something new. Now, I had tried my hand at being a teacher for Faith Weavers for the 3 and 4 years, and needless to say, I wasn’t very good at it. I either wasn’t firm enough with the kids, or if I was firm, I was too firm and they got scared of me. :(  I had to find a balance somewhere. I didn’t want the kids to run over me and get away with stuff, but I also wanted them to feel comfortable around me. So, someone else volunteered to be the teacher, and I was the helper.

Well for Awana, there’s a group called the Puggles, which is 2 and 3 year olds. I felt God nudging me to teach that class, and I tried to fight it, thinking, “But God! I wasn’t a good teacher with the Faith Weavers class, so someone else had to be the teacher. Why do You want me to do this?” I didn’t know, but I signed up to be the teacher for the Puggles group. And, strange as it sounds, I actually enjoyed it! Most of the kids were pretty good; though a few did cry when their parents left. But I’d read the lesson, show a picture related to the lesson, then we colored, did crafts, played games, snack, and the rest of the time was play time! (With potty breaks in between, of course).

But here’s where the confirmation part comes in. One of my kids’ moms told me once (when I was running late to church due to being on the Bookmobile that afternoon/evening) that Trey (her son) threw a fit because he thought I wasn’t coming! :)  She told me that Trey said “I want Ashley!”

Awww. That made my heart melt. <3  And Trey wasn’t the only one. I later found out that 2 other kids from my class (Grady and Addi) felt the same way, and, believe it or not, Trey, plus Grady and Addi, wouldn’t even go to Sunday School on Sunday mornings because I wasn’t their teacher! Grady’s mom told me that they liked coming to my class because I made them feel safe. Uh….whoa. Previously, I was too firm with kids and they were scared of me. Now I made kids feel safe? What a turn-around!

Anyway, I believe God wanted me to teach Awana for the Puggles group to show me that I am just as needed here as Eric is in Nepal. Or Tyler is in college. I don’t know what it was I did that made these kids love me so much, but I know Who was working through me to teach them and instill the lessons in them. :)

2. On another note,  last Thursday I was on my way to a viewing, and I didn’t know how to get to the church it was being held at. (I remember being at that church once, when I was 9). Eric printed out directions from Google Maps, and I was on my way. Google Maps said the estimated time was 26 minutes. Well, believe it or not, it took me an hour and a half to get to the church because I kept making wrong turns, getting on wrong roads, turning around, and texting and calling people asking for directions! >:(  Sigh….well, at least I made it in time. But ugh! That was so frustrating.

That made me think though, of all the lost people in the world today. They’re looking for the right road….something to satisfy them. They fill themselves up with money, possessions, fame, their career, etc. They want truth. But they twist the truth to fit their desires. They go on wrong turns, and ask people what the meaning of life is, and do all sorts of good deeds….but they’re still empty. Jesus said He is the Way. The Truth. And the Life.

3. It has been almost 6 months into the New Year (although it’s not so new anymore, lol), and so far, 2014 is going pretty well! Although it’s rather personal, several of my prayers have been answered. I have wonderful friends who I can talk to about stuff (one of my friends even told me I can talk to her anytime and that she’s always here for me. :D  That made me feel good),  Eric came back from Nepal safe and sound, Tyler graduated college, 2 people I’ve been praying for have slowly started coming around, and then of course finding out that my Puggles kids loved me. :)  God is so good. But, even when He doesn’t answer our prayers the way I want Him to, He is still good. Because He is God. I am so very blessed.

4. My New Year’s resolution was to give up pop for the year (unless I’m sick and throwing up, then I’ll take Sprite or 7-Up or something), and I can’t believe it’s been nearly 6 months! Whenever our family has pizza, we always have pop to drink with it. The first time I had pizza without pop, it felt really weird. But now, I don’t think about it. The really hard part is gonna be our annual family gathering in July, where we have homemade root beer (SO much better than store-bought), popcorn, homemade ice cream, BBQ chicken, and other goodies. We only get homemade root beer once a year, at the family gathering. It’s gonna be hard for me to give it up this year (especially since we’re having Ken and Elaine, a missionary family that I haven’t seen in years, come join us this year!) But at the end of this year, I want to be able to say, “I did it!” 5 and a half months down, 6 and a half more months to go. I can do this!

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

 

Randomness

June 7, 2014

1. Confirmations

I’ve been thinking about confirmations lately. I like confirmations because I have a bad habit of second-guessing myself a lot, and when something is confirmed, I feel better about my decision. Though I do need to learn to trust myself in the first place.

For example, last fall when Eric signed up to go to REACH to go to Nepal, he had to do 3 months training in Columbus first. It was hard on me when we dropped him off, because Tyler’s been in Cleveland for a few years now, and I was used to having Eric be at home and talking to him. But Eric emailed and said he loved it there in Columbus. He loved his team members, the activities the REACHERS did, the worship times, etc. I just felt like that was confirmation from God that Eric was supposed to do this. He also loved it in Nepal. :)

Another example is one time there was this guy that liked me, and we’d only met twice. The second time we met, he started asking some personal questions, and I was rather nervous and uncomfortable, to say the least. He’d wanted to go to a bonfire originally, but I had to work that day and just wanted to go home and relax. I told him I didn’t want to go to the bonfire, so he suggested a movie. I agreed, but was still nervous. Anyway, we ended up meeting at a local coffee shop and eating supper instead of going to a movie, and I was so relieved. I am not sure why, but at the time, I really, really did not want to meet with him and was so nervous and uncomfortable. I was so glad to leave the coffee shop. (He asked me out and I turned him down, by the way). Anyway, I was sort of annoyed with myself because I couldn’t understand why I was so stinkin’ nervous. I mean, personal questions would make anybody nervous, but I just had a feeling in my gut that I couldn’t shake.

This past Monday I met my aunt for coffee at a different local coffee shop and told her about this. Some of her sons know this guy, and later Monday afternoon I got a text from my aunt saying: “Just a confirmation. I asked our boys about this guy, and Bradley said NO! Not good!”  I asked my aunt how he wasn’t good, and my aunt said that she didn’t know exactly; Bradley just said this guy professed Christianity but didn’t live a good life ( or at least didn’t used to), and that the guy seemed sorta messed up to him. I told my aunt to tell her boys thanks a lot, and my aunt said her boys are all glad I didn’t get in a relationship with him! :)  (I later found out that this guy has a brother who’s married, but the brother got his fiance pregnant before they got married. I’m not saying the guy who asked me out would’ve done that, but still). I feel like when my gut tells me something, I need to just trust it instead of wondering why it feels that way. I believe God saw something in that guy that wasn’t good for me, and I should have trusted God and my gut. Fellow readers, how do you determine the difference between your gut and just plain fear?

2. Desires

In my last post, I wrote about “Person” and our falling-out. That was really hard on me for many reasons, one of them being I like to write stuff (nothing that would ever get published, mind you; just fluff-stuff type pieces) and I liked showing them to her. But slowly (though I had to wait), God brought me some wonderful new friends who I can share my work with. The best part? They get me! I can talk to them about anything, and it is such a load off my shoulders. We met on Xanga (boy, I miss that site) and I became close friends with some dear people. (I don’t miss Annette/Leslie and the drama-fest fiasco she caused). I wish we could meet in person, but I know we’ll meet in Heaven. :)  I am so thankful God granted me the desires of my heart, silly as it may sound. I’m so glad God gets me, too. <3

I have a small group of these close friends that I share my heart with, and I mentioned getting a new story idea, and one of my friends told me, “Write your heart out! I’d read it.”  She probably has no idea how much her kind words planted a seed in my heart and gave me courage to write my fluff-piece. And those 4 words: Write Your Heart Out. Whenever there was something I was nervous to put in or write about, I remembered those words and wrote what was on my heart; hence, writing my heart out. I do hope she likes it. But even if she hates it, it’s okay. Because our friendship is not based on whether or not they like my stories. Our friendship is based on trust, respect, loyalty, and love.

 

3. Discouragement

Imagine going to a place where no one wants you. You’re ridiculed,  mocked, shamed, etc. You’d want to leave and go home, right? I wonder if that’s how God feels about America sometimes. Today I read an article about a new movie that came out, and it’s about abortion. Really? Have we come that low?

http://hollywoodlife.com/2014/06/06/obvious-child-movie-review-jenny-slate-romantic-comedy-abortion/#comments

 

The article says “It’s so important for women to hear a story about abortion that isn’t a horror story,”  with more after it. But abortion is a horror story. It’s murdering innocent babies. In my devotions, I read a portion of both the Old and New Testaments every day, and I’m reading about Ahaz and how he sacrificed his own children to gods. That’s what we in America are doing. Offering children to the gods of money, ease, comfort, convenience, etc.

I also read Jesus’ words about the world will hate us, because it hated Him first, and that we will face persecution in the world. That comforts me, because June is Gay Pride Month, and as much as that sickens me, I can’t imagine how disgusted God is with it. Dedicating a whole month to celebrating something He very clearly stated was an abomination, making a  mockery out of something He created. How low we have stooped. :(

And finally, I read this sad article about a little girl being attacked by two pit bulls and losing part of her jaw and tongue.

http://hollywoodlife.com/2014/06/06/cincinnati-girl-attacked-pit-bulls-zainabou-drame/#comments

Now, I know it may not be entirely the animals’ fault. Maybe it’s the owner’s fault for not training the dogs properly, I don’t know. But I will admit that I am more of a baby kind of person. I love babies and little kids. Not a big animal fan, although I am against animal cruelty. God gave us dominion over the animals, and when we purposely hurt animals, we’re abusing the privilege that God gave us. But, I do feel that people often put animals over people, which I cannot stand.

For example, I saw this picture on Facebook today:

Photo: Did you know that there are drivers out there that swerve intentionally to hit turtles and snakes? Some of the species that are injured/killed are even endangered species.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>If you see a turtle in the road and want to help him across, always take him to the side where he or she is headed.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Always make certain of your own safety and the safety of your children if you stop your vehicle and get out to help a turtle.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Photo and info via thestickytongue.org/” width=”417″ height=”504″ /></p>
<p> </p>
<p> </p>
<p> </p>
<p> </p>
<p> </p>
<p><span class= 

 

 

 

It said above the picture “Did you know that there are drivers out there that swerve intentionally to hit turtles and snakes? Some of the species that are injured/killed are even endangered species. If you see a turtle in the road and want to help him across, always take him to the side where he or she is headed. Always make certain of your own safety and the safety of your children if you stop your vehicle and get out to help a turtle.”

 

Now hold on. We’re watching a movie about abortion, giving money to the box office to watch a movie about a sin that is being glorified, and yet we’re supposed to help Myrtle the Turtle cross the street?  Now don’t get me wrong; I would never purposely swerve in order to hit a turtle. But if I’m being honest, I’m not really making it my priority to help animals cross the road either. I’ve hit deer, raccoons, and squirrels (none on purpose, obviously). I realize this makes me sound like a cold-blooded killer, but oh well. I am who I am.

Well, I will leave off for now. I have more to say, but this is already quite long. Have a wonderful weekend, fellow readers! :D

An Eventful Weekend

May 12, 2014

I’m a little hesitant to post this, because I do not want to give anyone the wrong impression. I’m not posting this to build myself up, or to tear anyone down. That is not my intent. My intent is to simply share my journey, and how God has provided for me.

Earlier this week, my dear friend Amber wrote a post on her blog, titled “I Think They Just Don’t Like Us Very Much, How I Deal With The Rejection”.  http://motherofknights.com/2014/05/07/i-think-they-just-dont-like-us-very-much-how-i-deal-with-the-rejection/

On her post, she says (her words italicized): I wanted them to be happy for me. But they didn’t even know about my good news. After so many months of rejection, I knew that calling would be out of the question. It was quite obvious that they just didn’t want anything to do with me. With us. The hardest part was dodging my children’s questions about why we don’t see them anymore. Their innocence something I wanted to fiercely protect.

Here I was, embarking on a wonderful new path for my life, and I couldn’t share it with the people who should be most excited for me-the most joyful with me.

A part of me wanted to reach out one more time. Just try to bridge the gap from my end and extend yet another olive branch. But deep in my heart, I knew that it wouldn’t be well received.

I know that I am not alone in this situation. Perhaps you too have felt the sting of being turned aside from close friends, isolated from conversations with chummy co-workers, or down-right shunned from your family members. Maybe you too are missing out on the growing up years of little ones you love, or dread the holidays and birthdays because the void that broken relationships brings casts a cloud over what should be a happy celebration.”

That hit home for me. I had some dear friends in high school, but six years ago we had a falling-out, and our relationship (if you can even call it that) has been very strained. I know the feeling of being rejected. Of being ignored whenever I try to make contact. I commented on Amber’s post and told her so. I also told her that after five years of pain, I have finally forgiven the people who hurt me. Amber kindly replied and said that she was glad I had come to a place of forgiveness.

Two days after I commented on Amber’s post, one of the people that I’ve had to forgive messages me on Facebook out of the blue and says:

“Checked out Pinkfluffyslippers and I must say it’s an awesome blog.

Hope you are doing absolutely awesomely.

Person”   (I don’t want to use her real name on here).

Um….what?  Was God trying to test me?  I was both nervous and excited, and I messaged Person back, saying thank you and that I hoped she was doing well also. But then I started to feel somewhat irritated. This person has been out of my life for the past six years (she even told me she needed to be out of my life), but then she messages me on Facebook or comments on my Xanga (this was back when Xanga still existed), and when I called her out on it, I’d just get ignored. I messaged her a PS and asked her to please stop messaging me, since she didn’t want me in her life anymore. I expected to just be ignored again, but I actually got a response back, saying,

“Fair request.

 I’m sorry. I’ll respect that.”-Person

Now at first, I felt justified.  I had been rejected and ignored for years, and she always popped in whenever she felt like it, with no explanation. It felt good to tell her off, but God started nudging me, showing me that I should have responded differently.

You see, in Amber’s post about rejection, she also says

“So what does a passionate Christ-follower do?

She does what she can on her end to make things right, and then leaves the rest up to God. She sometimes cries it out at night, and often prays for restoration. And she works really hard to set her mind on things above. To not return evil for evil. She prays that God will keep her heart soft enough to not be bitter, and strong enough to love her enemies.

It’s hard to do, in our humanness, isn’t it?

It’s other-worldly, this God-given charge for us as believers-a radical kind of love.

Take the blows.

Give to them more than they want to take.

Be a servant.

Show generosity.

Love your enemies.

Allow the painful situation to refine you and bring out the best in you.

Pray.

Put on your big girl pants.

Live out grace.”

And I was definitely not living out grace, putting on my big girl pants, or giving them more than they could take. And I fought with God about it. “But God!” I thought, “this isn’t fair. I need to stand up for myself, and not let myself get trampled over. I need to set boundaries for myself so I’m not hurt anymore.”  But I guess God didn’t see it that way, because I kept feeling guilty and convicted, so later that evening I messaged her an apology, and some new worries crept into my mind. “What if she thinks you’re trying too hard?” They whispered.  “What if she doesn’t believe you, and you get ignored again?” My heart pounding, I pushed the “Send” button, and I can honestly say, that I had peace.

You see, I want to be the kind of person that all my friends can come to for advice, to vent, etc. And when I fought with God, I felt like, “But Person and I aren’t friends! We haven’t spoken in so many years!”  God didn’t care. He wanted me to make it right. And it’s funny, because although I had those worries about what would she think of me, God’s peace was bigger than those worries. I guess it’s the peace that passes all understanding.

Person messaged me back, and said:

Ashely your response was totally understandable. Absolutely and I appreciate your graciousness too! Thanks and hope oodles of amazing things for you! Like pink fluffy slippers. :)  ”   (I didn’t have the heart to tell her she spelled my name wrong).

I replied and thanked her for her kind response, and told her to feel free to leave a comment if she ever wants to.

Then Saturday night we had a car accident in front of our house (but that’s another story for another time). After the excitement, I saw on Person’s Facebook wall that her sister was wanting to adopt. We have a couple in our church that have 4 children, 2 of which are adopted. They started an organization called “Pure Gift of God”, and so I messaged Person with the info, and she actually replied back, and thanked me! Not to sound prideful but I sort of hoped I redeemed myself in that sense, since I’d been too harsh before.

Anyway, I’m not sure how to end this, so I will just ask for you prayers. Pray that I would have wisdom and grace in knowing how to handle this tricky, sticky situation. Pray that my words and actions would be kind and healing. Pray that Person would know what she wants, because sometimes it seems like she wants to be friends again, other times, not so much. And that confuses me.

But I must say, I am extremely grateful that she messaged me and told me she came across my blog and liked it. She didn’t have to. She could have just been a lurker, always reading my blog and never letting me know that she saw it or reads it. Why did she tell me? Does she still miss me like I miss her? At any rate, getting her kind message was like a warm hug that Friday. <3


She does what she can on her end to make things right, and then leaves the rest up to God. She sometimes cries it out at night, and often prays for restoration.”

I’ve been there. I’ve tried to do what I thought was right (though looking back, there was probably more I could’ve done), cried many many tears (Lord knows how many of my tears He’s stored up in His bottle), and I have prayed for restoration. And looking back, although I miss Person dearly, God has brought me so many new friends! Most of them I’ve met on Xanga, and so we’ve never actually met in real life. But a lot of them are writers also, and we’ve exchanged work, and I love it! I’ve also had some new friends pray with me for a husband, because that is the desire of my heart.

Again, I did not write this to make myself look good, or to tear Person down. I messed up and didn’t treat Person with kindness and grace like I should have. I’m really nervous, because she likes and reads my blog; next time she comes across it, she’ll read this post, and I’m nervous about how she’ll react to it. Prayers for that would also be appreciated.

Live out grace. Put on your big girl pants. Give more than they can take. And be filled with peace.

 

 

Of Cakes, Convictions, & Christianity

April 6, 2014

A few months ago, there was a big uproar about a Christian baker who owned a bakery, but refused to make a cake for a gay couple and their wedding. The gay couple, instead of being loving, tolerant, and going to another bakery to find a cake, decided instead to sue this baker so they could have their own way. They wanted to have their cake and eat it too.

I have a friend who does not support homosexuality, but she said if it had been her, she would’ve made the cake, because to her, it’s just a cake. She said she doesn’t feel like she’s endorsing same-sex marriage simply by baking a cake.

Now this got me thinking. At first I agreed with the baker. I would have refused to bake a cake for the homosexual couple too. But, I was talking to one of my Christian co-workers about it, and although my co-worker is also against same-sex marriage, she asked me, “Would you have baked a cake for a Muslim couple, or an atheist couple? Where’s the line? Where do you draw the line?”

Wow. When it’s put in that light, it seems different. I hadn’t thought about it like that. My views changed a little bit.

Okay. If I was the owner of a bakery, although I am still against same-sex marriage, if a gay couple wanted me to make a cake for their wedding, I would do it. Because if I can do it for any other couple, be it Muslim or atheist, why not a gay couple? We’re supposed to show the love of Jesus to others. Jesus said if we offer even a cup of cold water to someone, we will not lose our reward.

But wait. The verse reads like this: “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” -Matthew 10:42 (NIV).

It says if we give a cup of cold water to one of the little ones who is His disciple. Muslims, atheists, and homosexuals aren’t disciples of Jesus Christ. We’re still supposed to show love to them, but is it saying we can refuse to offer them a service?

Personally, I don’t think so. Jesus sat and ate with Pharisees and sinners. Jesus wouldn’t turn anyone away. If Jesus was the owner of a bakery today, and a gay couple asked him to bake a cake, would He bake one? I like to think He would, just to extend His unconditional love for them. I mean, if you sell lots of cakes, and have a great personality, and people recommend you, your business is going to get popular. You can use that opportunity to share the love of God to all those customers you come into contact with.

Let’s go a little further. If you were a photographer, would you take pictures at a gay wedding? The Bible says not to make unto yourself any graven image, and to snap pictures of two men or two women kissing is a graven image in God’s eyes. Or what about a caterer. Would you cater a homosexual wedding? If you said no to that question, and no to the photographer question, then let me ask you, would you be okay with photographing a Muslim or atheist wedding? Catering a Muslim or atheist wedding?

If you were the owner of a Christian book store, and a gay couple came in and bought a wedding album, would you still sell it to them? Why or why not?

One of the local churches in our area knew of a lesbian couple that had a baby, and that church actually lifted up an offering to help support the lesbian couple with the baby. Now tell me, is that endorsing homosexuality, or showing the love of God by helping them out? (I will add that this church is the same denomination of church that I attend, but they’re a little more liberal, and do certain things that I don’t necessarily agree with).

I’m going to go in a bit of a different direction here. The Bible tells us to shine our light before men. “In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Two things here.

1.  Let your good deeds shine. If you baked a cake for a gay wedding, took pictures for one, or catered one, would those be considered as “good deeds”? God knows your heart, and He knows you don’t endorse same-sex marriage. If you’re doing it to show the love of God to those you’re offering service to, then God knows that, and I believe He will reward you.

2. There are people in other parts of the world who are being persecuted for their faith. Most of them have to hide and have secret churches and secret meetings so they won’t get caught by the police.

Now just wait one minute.

We’re told we have to shine our light for all to see, and there are people who are hiding! Are they hiding their light? Why don’t they just have church out in the open? Yes, they might get caught, beaten, tortured, thrown into jail, and killed, but look at Daniel, from the Bible. He knew the law said to only pray to King Darius, but he still prayed right out in the open.

Now, if the Christian baker had baked a cake for the gay wedding, would the Christians have caused an uproar, saying, “Well, she must not be a true follower of Jesus then. She’s a false Christian. A real Christian wouldn’t support that abomination.”  If she had tried to explain that she doesn’t endorse same-sex marriage, but that her business is open to everyone, would we believe her? Or would we tell our friends and family, “Don’t go to that bakery. The baker claims to be a Christian, but she made a cake for a gay wedding!” We would be no better than that gay couple who smeared that baker”s reputation and sued her.

Why are we okay with other Christians hiding their light, but are so willing to tear others down when we see what we think is wrong?

Well, let’s back up. First of all, those persecuted Christians are not hiding their light. Yes, they are in hiding, but in my opinion, hiding your light means throwing away your morals, being ashamed of Jesus, etc. If you’re out with a group of friends who aren’t Christians, and you go to a restaurant, but you’re too embarrassed to pray before you eat since no one else is, that’s hiding your light. If those persecuted Christians, get caught, they will not renounce Jesus or Christianity. They are not hiding their light. They won’t be embarrassed to say they love Him. They are willing to die for their faith.

Well, I have so much more on my mind, but this is quite long, so I’ll leave it for now. Fellow readers, I’d like very much to know what your stance is on these things. Would you offer services to a gay/Muslim/atheist couple? Why or why not? Where do you draw the line? What are your convictions?

Blessings to you all! Thanks for taking the time to read this!

 

~Ashley

Being Thankful

March 31, 2014

At the beginning of the New Year, I wanted to read through the Bible in a year, and I came across a plan where I read portions of both the Old and New Testaments in a day. For example, Day 1 would probably consist of 2 or 3 chapters from the Old Testament, and half a chapter from the New Testament. I recently finished reading about Moses, Joshua, and the Israelites, and even though I’ve read the story before, I still can’t help but get annoyed when I read about the Israelites’ constant complaining.

They were in Egypt, working their butts off for the Egyptians, sweating, crying, being beaten, and they wanted out. God led them out, but then they complained about the land they were already in. They were convinced God had led them out, only to let them die. They were hungry, thirsty, and tired. So God sent them manna to eat, and although at first they eagerly ate it, after several days of the white stuff falling from the ground, they complained about it.

What ungrateful people! We tend to think. God was providing for them, and all they did was complain. At least it was something for them to eat. But then I had to stop and think, how often do we do the same? We’ve had white stuff falling down from the sky for several months, and I admit, I am tired of it too. I’ve had enough of the snow. I want sunshine and warm weather. But God has been showing me that although I don’t always enjoy snow, I need to find something about it to be grateful for. So, here goes.

Snow is pretty.

That’s it? You may think. Yeah, snow is pretty, but it’s dangerous to drive in, it’s cold, etc.

That’s true. However, I would rather have it snow and enjoy something pretty to look at outside, than have it rain locusts, flies, etc. like the Egyptians had to endure. Can you imagine what it would be like if God would send down flies and locusts in today’s time? I know I would definitely pick snow over that.

Besides, God provides people who are willing to drive snow plows and salt trucks. My parents and I arrived at church safely this morning and weren’t late, even though some of the roads were rather slick. The sun was shining after we left church and most of the snow is melted by now. Three more reasons to be thankful.

Let’s go a little further with this thankfulness thing. I have a cousin who is married, and has two small children, and will give birth to her third child in May. I’m excited to meet a new little relative, but at the same time, it’s painful for me. I deeply desire marriage and children too. However, my cousin has told me that she doesn’t really have any close friends in the town that she and her husband live in. All of her close friends live here in Holmes County. She said she misses getting together with friends and pouring her heart out.

It made me think, no, I don’t have a husband or children. But I am so blessed with good, godly, dear friends. I have wonderful friends here, and some friends out of-of-state. I have some friends that I’ve never met in person, but I’ve met through Xanga, WordPress, or through mutual friends. One such dear friend even messaged me this past week and prayed with me about a husband and children! I like that even though we may not go to a coffee shop and spill our guts, I can still message them and share my heart with them. They’re just a click away. And I know that I’ll see them in Heaven. I have such wonderful sisters in Christ. <3

This past Wednesday, I was driving to work when the power steering in my car suddenly locked, making the steering wheel tight and incredibly hard to turn. I pulled over, turned off the car and called Dad. Then I started up the car again, and thankfully, it started right up and I was able to get to work safely. This is the fourth time that I’ve been driving when the power steering has locked; it’s happened with three different vehicles (my current car being the fourth). It’s easy to get frustrated and say, “God, why does this always happen to me? Why can’t I have a normal vehicle?”

Well, let’s back up. Yes, this has happened to me four times. But, all four times, no one got hurt. No cars were hit. The first time, a lady asked me if I was okay. I said yes, told her what happened, and called Dad. The second time, my wonderful neighbors helped me. (I will add that the second time, the power steering locked on our road, and we live on a state highway, which means cars driving by all the time. Thankfully, they slowed down when they saw my neighbors helping me move our car). The third time, I was on my way to work when it locked, so I pulled over to a local bike shop, and one of the guys graciously let me stay parked there. (He kinda had no choice, as I couldn’t steer very well. :P  ).  And the fourth time, I got to work safely. And my co-workers were very kind and gracious when I told them I had car problems and was going to be late for work. We have had so many car problems in the past, and it was so easy to get mad at God. But as I look back, He always provided. Sometimes we only had one working vehicle at home, and it was hard juggling one vehicle among four people. But, at least it was working. If we would’ve had no working vehicles, that could’ve turned out very differently.

Lastly, (and this is rather off-topic), I tend to be more shy and introverted, and in Sunday School, I always feel like I should speak up more. Well, God wanted me to get out of my comfort zone, and one of our pastors asked me a question in Sunday School, and although I was somewhat nervous, I spoke and gave an answer. After the church service, he gave me a hug and told me he was glad I was in that Sunday School class! I was surprised, and happy. In my mind I was thinking, He’s happy that a shy girl who doesn’t talk a lot is in his Sunday School class?  But let’s look for another reason to be thankful.

I’m thankful that he told me so. He didn’t have to, but he did. And it made my day. :D

I’m thankful for a God who cares enough to push me out of my comfort zone.

He told me that the more often I do, the easier it’ll be. And he’s right. I do want to start speaking up more.

So, despite numerous snow storms, no husband or children, car problems, and being shy, there’s something good in every situation. You just have to look a little harder. There’s always something to be thankful for. You might not see it right away, but it’s there. :)

 

 

Valentines from God

February 17, 2014

I’m a little hesitant to post this, because I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade. But I want to share what God gave me for Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day (plus any other major holiday) is usually pretty hard on me, for obvious reasons. I want someone to spend time with, buy gifts for, and to go on dates with. This year was a little harder because one of my cousins gave birth to her first child on February 12, and although I was happy for her, it was a bittersweet moment for me.  Happy for her, yet my heart ached, wondering if I’d ever get to experience that.

I admit I was a little mad at God, and I did shed some tears, ranting and raving and wondering why I even have this desire if it’s not going to happen. I felt bad later, and apologized to God, but was still bummed about my dreams not coming true.

Well God, my Heavenly Daddy, graciously forgave me, and gave me some Valentine’s Day gifts to show how much He truly loves me.

1. On Friday (which would have been Valentine’s Day), I got to see two dear cousins of mine at the library, Kristin and Katrina. Kristin lives in Pennsylvania now that she’s married, but her husband is on a mission trip to the Ukraine, so she came down to Ohio for the week. She stopped in at the library and even bought me a Jitters Mocha coffee, bless her dear heart. :) I got to talk to her and Katrina, which made my day. It’s always so nice seeing dear friends and getting to talk to them.

2. Later that night, I was on the computer when Kristin called my cell phone. She was driving somewhere to meet her friends, but it was a two-hour drive, and she thought maybe I’d like to talk, since we didn’t get to spend a lot of time at the library or during the week at all when she was down here. Honestly, I believe God put that on her heart, to call me. I poured out my heart to her, and despite having bad reception, having our calls dropped multiple times and playing phone tag, it was still a good conversation. I truly believe that God knew I needed someone to talk to on Valentine’s Day, and He laid it on her heart to give me a ring. (Not the jewelry kind of a ring; but you know what I mean. ;)  ).

3. I have a friend named Danae who texts me a Bible verse or inspirational quote every day, and I admit, after me and Kristin’s conversation, I felt better, but was still worrying about stuff, like, “If I do get married, how am I going to pay for the wedding” (since money’s tight at our house), “what if I’m not able to have kids but all my friends can”, etc. Well Saturday morning, I got my usual text message from Danae, and I know it was God speaking to me. It said: “If God can take a tiny stone and make a giant fall, HE can move that stone that troubles you. Luke 1:37. With God, nothing is impossible.” That’s no coincidence that Danae texted me that verse. I needed that, and God put it on her heart to send it to me.

4. Lastly, I tend to be the kind of person to beat myself up over and over if I mess up, and on Pinterest this past week, I saw a pin that I liked so much I pinned it right away. It said, “Nothing you confess will make me love you less. -Jesus.”  I love it, and need to remind myself that no matter how often I screw up, Jesus is not going to love me any less. He’s the perfect Valentine. :)  I love that God showed me that pin. I needed that reminder.

Now, sometimes I feel like my prayers for marriage and children are falling on deaf ears. I pray and pray, and nothing seems to happen. I wonder if God’s even listening to me. But then I thought, am I listening to God? Has He been trying to get my attention for a while, only to have it fall on my deaf ears? Maybe He’s trying to tell me, “Ashley, I love you so very much. I knew you before you were even born. I know how deeply you desire this. It’s not wrong to have that desire; it’s healthy and normal. But I want to be your first love. I want to be your true love. Only I can fill the empty places that no man or child can.”

God loves me so much that He sent His only Son to die for me. Jesus thinks I’m to die for. Sometimes the thought of being single, alone forever, scares me. Well, the thought of being alone, in Heaven forever, without me (or any of us) didn’t please God either, so He sent Jesus to die for us. Because He didn’t want to spend eternity without us, and because He knows we need Him. We are the Bride of Christ, and God wanted to be “married” to us in the Heavenly sense. Like I said, God couldn’t bear to be “single”, spending eternity without us, so He went and sent Jesus to die for us so we could “marry” our Bridegroom.

I still desire marriage. I still want a husband and children. But I’m happy with the Valentine’s Day gifts my Heavenly Father got just for me. Especially eternal life with Him. <3

I think it’s also no coincidence that the symbol for Valentine’s Day is a heart, and God laid several different things on peoples’ hearts so He could get through to me. :)  My God is awesome.

Amen. ❤

Marriage- Earthly and Spiritual

January 14, 2014

One of my dreams is to get married someday. To a good, godly man, someone to share my life with, someone to have children with, and someone who will provide for me and protect me. However, I do realize that marriage is not always sunshine and rainbows. There is a lot of hard work and sacrifice involved in marriage. Some days you may not feel like getting out of bed and cooking the meals, doing the laundry, or cleaning the house. But you do it anyway.

Why? Why not just do what you want? Why not just do what you feel like doing? You only live once, right? Life is short, do what makes you happy, right?

Wrong. When you get married, you and your spouse say vows to each other. “I take you, so-and-so, to be my lawfully wedded husband/wife, to love and to cherish, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, for better or for worse, until death do us part.” Now, the “for worse” part could mean something extremely tragic, like if your spouse is in a severe car accident and is paralyzed. Or, it could also mean something more trivial, like ten baskets of laundry to do in one day while dealing with a colicky baby and trying to shut off the smoke alarm while cooking supper and mop up the flooded bathroom at the same time. When you say “I take you to be my spouse, to love, for better or for worse”, you’re saying that you take them to be your best friend, to serve, in the good days and bad days.

That’s something we deal with in our earthly marriages. But, if you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, then you’re also in a spiritual marriage. We, the church, are the Bridegroom of Christ

 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church– for we are members of his body.For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a profound mystery–but I am talking about Christ and the church.” Ephesians 5:24-32.

When we confess with our mouth and believe in our heart that Jesus is Lord, He becomes our best friend, and we are His Bride! And the “vows” are the Bible, God’s Word.   “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

When we accept Jesus as Lord in our lives, we also agree to “vows”- God’s rules and commandments in the Bible. No, they’re not always easy and fun, but we need to do it whether we feel like it or not, just like earthly vows.

Forgiveness, for example. If someone wrongs you, you need to forgive them. (Easier said than done, I know!) Forgiveness is a choice, and we need to do it, whether we feel like it or not. Or standing up for what’s right, even if no one else is. It’s so easy to go with the crowd, but the vows we make to God are far more important than what people think. It’s hard for me to not worry about what others think sometimes.

Marriage, both earthly and spiritual, is not always a walk in the park. But if you keep your earthly and spiritual vows and serve God, your spouse, and your children, it will always be worth it. :)

Family

December 25, 2013

Like most people, I have two sides of the family. My Mom’s side the Coblentz side, and my Dad’s side the Wengerd side. But I also have seven other families that I’m a part of.

1. First of all, my mom has a cousin named Marlin. He is married to Vicki, and they have two daughters, Tiana and Natasha. Vicki and I became really close over the years, especially when I started babysitting her girls. I consider Vicki to be my second mom/big sister to me. I enjoy talking to her about girl stuff, watching movies with her, and laughing together.  :)  Vicki has told me that I am like another daughter to her, and for that I am touched. I am deeply honored that they consider me part of their family.

2. Second is my bookmobile family at work! There’s me (obviously), Gary, Phil, Linda, and Marty (who is a she). We’re co-workers, but we truly are like a family. We get along, joke around with each other, bring in snacks, and even go out to eat sometimes. We’ve gone out for pizza for me and Marty’s birthdays, and this past summer we went out to Subway on our lunch break. :)  Linda is also like a big sister to me who I can talk to about deep stuff, but also share a laugh with. :)

3. Third is my church family. I have had some dear women from church pray blessings over me, send me cards, affirm me, give me words of encouragement, and came to my Grandma Martha’s viewing last year. They touch and inspire me so much. I truly love them. <3

4. Then there’s the Schlabach family, on my Mom’s side. It’s the Coblentz family, along with some extended family. We get together for a reunion every year in July, and I love it. Homemade root beer (much better than store-bought), popcorn, candy throw, and lots of new babies to hold, as well as old and dear friends to reconnect with.

5.  Fifth is my “Xanga” family. There was a website called Xanga for several years, and it basically just a site for blogging. Oh sure, there were other sites you could blog on, like WordPress, LiveJournal, etc. But Xanga had a sense of community about it. People could recommend blogs, where other bloggers could  view it also, and there were some blogs that would get recommended because they had a prayer request, or a praise report. People that didn’t even know them personally would offer condolences, send prayers, or congratulate them (depending on the occasion). I have made some very dear friends on Xanga, and although Xanga has changed and I am no longer blogging on it, I still keep in touch with my wonderful friends. :)  They are like family to me. Some I consider to be sisters, and some my “other mothers”.

6. Sixth is my Facebook and Pinterest family. Yes, I know that sounds silly. But there are some pages I’ve “liked” on Facebook, and when I share my struggles, I get encouragement from people I don’t even know! Earlier this year, I was feeling attacked by the devil about something, and I shared that I was struggling on a Christian page on Facebook. One lady, from Australia, commented and gave me some much-needed encouragement! :)  It reminded me of the Bible story where Elijah feels like he’s the only one who’s doing the right thing, only to find out that there are many more that also serve the one true God! :)  On Pinterest, I have had people I don’t know follow my Christian boards, and I know that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re Christian themselves, but it gives me hope, in that they want to follow those particular boards. I hope God can use me to glorify Him through those boards. Plus, I’ve also made some good friends on Pinterest, friends who share similar interests and beliefs. :)

7. Last but definitely not least, I’m part of God’s family! When my second cousin Krista’s husband, Gerald, passed away, so many of my friends on Facebook prayed for her, even though they didn’t know her or the family personally. And when Marco, the volunteer firefighter who was shot in the head and lay in a coma, so many people rallied around him and his family and prayed, even though most of us didn’t know Marco or MaryAnn (myself included). It touched me, that people who didn’t know these families still prayed for them. <3

There’s a verse that I’ve claimed and come to love. Psalm 68:6 says “God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

I love that. God sets the lonely in families! I know there will be times when MaryAnn will get lonely, but God has placed her in a family of Facebook friends, people who “liked” the page “Praying For Marco”.

And same with Krista, and me! I admit sometimes I get lonely at home, what with not having a close relationship with my mom and no sisters to talk to. (My mom did have 2 miscarriages, and although I’d be okay with having two more brothers, I sort of hope one of them is a girl! I like to think that I have a sister in Heaven).  And God has blessed me with 7 families!  (7 is a perfect number, too!)  I am one incredibly blessed daughter of the King.  :D

I had to think of the shooter who shot Marco in the head. I don’t even know him, yet I feel anger towards him, and I know that I need to forgive him. But why did he shoot Marco? Why was he robbing Marco and MaryAnn in the first place? Honestly, I believe he had a void. He wanted something to fill that void, and he was stealing to get something to fill that void. I don’t know if he was lonely, angry, or what. But he needs a family. Where he can belong. Feel loved, accepted, needed. Maybe then his void wouldn’t be so big.

There’s a song called “The Family of God”, and one of the verses goes like this:

“You will notice we say ‘brother’ and ‘sister’ ’roundhere,
It’s because we’re a family and these are so near;
When one has a heartache, we all share the tears,
And rejoice in each victory in this family so dear.”

It’s so true. When Gerald and Marco died, many people shed tears and felt holes in their hearts, even those that didn’t know them. I have many dear, loved ones in Heaven, and I can’t wait to see them again!

http://www.stpaulmuskego.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/The-Family-of-God.jpg

 

http://i3.squidoocdn.com/resize/squidoo_images/-1/lens6486411_1269220016Going_to_heaven.jpg

I cannot wait for this day! To meet my Heavenly Daddy who adopted me into His family, to meet Jesus Who made it possible for me to be adopted, and to see my loved ones and meet my two siblings!

God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing.” Psalm 68:6a.

More Things About Me

November 23, 2013

Well, my friend Sean over at http://sean-mackenzie.blogspot.com/ had already done the Facebook version of Things About Ourselves and wrote some more on her blog, and I was tagged by her, so even though I did the Facebook version, I’ll do it here too. I was told to do 7, and I was told by a Facebook friend to do 8, and another Facebook friend to do 9. So maybe I’ll just combine them. 24 things about yours truly!

1.  I’m from Holmes County, yet I don’t speak or understand Dutch. Well, I know a little bit and can speak some words and phrases, but that’s it.

2. I’m against animal cruelty, but I’m really not a big animal lover. When I get married and have kids, I don’t want them to have pets in the house (unless it’s like a goldfish or hamster or something) because I don’t want to have to deal with poop, pee, and shed fur everywhere. Sorry, kids.

3. Full House is my favorite TV show.

4. My biggest fear is never getting married. Yes, I know there are fates far worse than a lifetime of singlehood, but I hope and desire so much that there is a good, godly man out there for me somewhere.  :(

5. I want to be a foster and adoptive parent.

6. Anything relating to the Royal Family and  September 11 fascinates me.

7. I once dyed pink streaks through my bangs. Our youth group was going to Costa Rica on a mission trip, and the girls decided to dye their hair pink. (Not their whole heads, obviously). I was too scared to put any streaks through my head, so I had them done in my bangs. At first I wasn’t sure I liked them, but after a while I kinda did. Not sure if I’d do it again, though!  :-/

8. With the exception of pumpkin pie, I’m actually not big on pumpkin flavored things. I also tried egg nog once, and I didn’t really care for it that much.

9. Oreos are my favorite cookie.

10. I got my driver’s license at age 20, exactly a week before Thanksgiving (and one month before my 21st birthday).

11. I got my ears pierced at age 22. It hurt, but it was worth it! I love having pierced ears! :)

12. I broke my finger a few days before my tenth birthday, and we didn’t go to the doctor right away because we didn’t know if it was actually broken or not. But on the day of my birthday, Dad and I went to the doctor, and sure enough, my finger was broken. I broke it by jumping off a chair.

13. When I was about 6 or 7, I sprained my right arm by falling off a chair. Chairs seem to be hazardous to my health.

14. The first time I got my hair highlighted, I cried because I thought it was too blonde.

15. I never learned how to roller skate, roller blade, or ice skate.

16. When I was little, I ate some grass once to see if anything would happen (i.e. get sick or anything). Nothing did. (Yet if I stand on a chair, something seems to go wrong. Lol.)

17. My favorite song (well, one of my favorites) is “Who Says” by Selena Gomez.

18. Chocolate is my favorite ice cream flavor.

19. My favorite movie is Monster’s Inc.

20. For some reason, I’ve always related better to people older than me. I always felt more comfortable talking to women who were older, married and had kids, etc. than I did with people my age. Sometimes I wonder if I just matured faster. ;)  Just kidding.

21. My favorite books are the Bible, as well as The Pearl and The Novelist (both by Angela Hunt).

22. I wish I had a good singing voice. I always cringe when I hear myself sing.

23. I once checked in 743 books in one day in the bookmobile department at the library. Yes, it was busy that day. ;)  Summer was starting and my co-workers brought back like 20 or so bags of books that had to be checked in, as well as teacher crates of school books. Didn’t get any shelving done that day.

24. My favorite Contemporary Christian songs are “Blessed Be Your Name” and “Praise is Rising”.

I’ll give y’all a bonus one: I actually used to wish for braces, because I was so ashamed of my crooked teeth. I still get embarrassed by them at times, but I’m trying to love my smile more! :D

I’m not sure if she’ll do it or not, but I’ll tag my cousin Kristin over at http://transparentsplashesofcolor.wordpress.com/

So there you have it! 25 facts about me! :)

Life Happenings

September 29, 2013

Wow. It certainly has been a (long) while since I last updated this blog. Sorry about that. :(  I used to always use Xanga for my main blog, but Xanga shut down and moved to Word Press, and to be a regular blogger, you have to pay a certain amount a year, and I don’t want to pay to blog, so I’ll just let my poor Xanga blog shut down, I guess. :’(  I feel like I’m losing an old friend. But, I still have my Word Press, and I’ll try to update this thing more often. (Notice I said try, not promise. Lol.)

Anyway, so what’s been going on in my life lately? Well….

Next weekend is Visitor’s Weekend at the Rosedale International Center (RIC) in Columbus, and I’ll get to see Eric then! :)

This coming Wednesday our church will be doing Awana for our kid’s program (it’s our first time doing it; we used to do the Faith Weavers program for several years) and I get to lead the Puggles, which is the 2 and 3 year old class. <3

It’s officially fall! I love wearing jeans, hoodies, thick comfy, fuzzy socks, and snuggling under the covers at night. ;)

I’ve also been struggling with some stuff. Eric is in the Reach program, and he loves it. Tyler is in college, and will graduate next spring. Most of my friends from church, classmates from school, and relatives are married, and I’m just….working. Now don’t get me wrong, I do love my job, but sometimes I second-guess myself and wonder if I should be doing more. I mean, I know next spring my insecurities will come full force, with Tyler graduating college and Eric coming home from Nepal. Where do I fit in?  :(

 

Well, I’m sorry this is so short, but my life just isn’t very interesting right now, lol. I will still try to update more, though. God bless!!

 

~Ashley


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